If any city could claim the title of ‘Neverland’, it would be Berlin. This a city that doesn’t want to grow up. It is a playground, set to the beat of floating, throbbing house music. Thousands of Peter Pan-like night time revellers act like children, they never want to go to bed. And because it’s Berlin, they don’t have to. Many clubs stay open from Friday until Monday morning.
Because of this, there’s no pressure - visitors can be completely whimsical in planning their night time adventures; Want to go out at 2am? You can. Feel like dancing on a Sunday afternoon? That’s no problem.
By first light, the German capital is magnificent. Watch a dance floor rise and fall to the tide of the music as the sun slides up above the River Spree, out the windows behind them.
Coming for a night out in Berlin? Hold on for dear life, it’s going to be wild.
To people who love techno, Berlin is Mecca - the ultimate pilgrimage. And at the centre of that Mecca is The Berghain. In another life, the looming grey building, set surrounded by wasteland could be a high security prison; a haunted house, it was in fact once a power station. As you walk through the empty lot to get there, the setting seems foreboding, almost sinister. But there’s nothing sinister about the Berghain, it is a techno legend, made more famous by its door policy - whether clubbers are let in or not is decided entirely on the whim of the bouncer. Expect nothing more than a slight nod or shake of the head.
The line outside is silent - nerves course through the crowd. No one wants to be turned away. But for the lucky ones, once inside the bass is so loud it creeps down people's throats and rattles their ribcage.
The Berghain is a reincarnation of a male-only gay club called Snax and that identity is still very strong in the building today. Its legendary hedonism is most apparent in its “darkrooms” where, in the pitch black, anything could (and does) happen. Below the Berghain is Lab.Oratory, a men’s club also famed for its raucous hedonism.
In Berlin, the party starts late. Locals are happy to start their night at 2am or 3am and dance well into the next day. For your going-out outfit, remember the city’s dress code is black - here people dress down, not up.
Leave the Brit in you behind at the airport and don’t drink too much - it doesn’t suit the music. Who can dance to house and techno when you can barely keep your balance? Instead drink Club Mate, the drink of choice for tiring clubbers. Mate, as it is known, is a vegan drink, made from the South American Yerba tea, it gives you the energy to keep dancing despite containing very little sugar.
Although the Berghain is firmly rooted at the centre of the city’s night life, of course, it is not the only place where Berliners go for world class music. In the central borough of Mitte find Tresor, a club sat in an old abandoned power plant. ://about blank is another formerly illegal club space, in the summer DJs take the decks into the ramshackle garden. Both clubs are just a short cycle from the easyHotel Berlin Hackescher Markt. The ideal no-thrills base for somewhere to crash after a long night partying.
Cosy Club der Visionaere sits on the canal, with space for only 50 people on the dance floor, clubbers spill out onto the wooden deck. This is much more of a chilled out atmosphere. Don’t go here looking for hard-core techno - although sometimes the place stays open from Friday through till Monday without closing. Temporarily shut this winter, it will be open again by spring 2016.
During the summer months, open-air clubbing is a big thing in Berlin. In perfect weather, Germans still want to dance - but in the sunshine, not in a grey, industrial box. Tourists should find out from locals where the next spontaneous dance party is to be held - sometimes besides an old gas station; sometimes in the forest.
Sisyphus is an open-air party that lasts all summer. It’s a place to truly embrace your Peter Pan. Dance all night in the sand on the edge of the city. Little huts and abandoned cars provide intriguing corners for clubbers to explore. The perfect playground for the boy that never grew up.
Badeschiff is another great spot for daytime dancing. With a swimming pool, situated directly on top of the River Spree, you can lose yourself here all day. Dance, swim, drink and watch the boats go by.
After a weekend partying in Berlin, you will never want to go home, or grow up.
October 2017 | Insider’s Guide
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